In vitro fertilisation (IVF) has provided many couples with the family that they have always dreamed of. Realising that you are unable to conceive naturally can be a very upsetting step on your journey to becoming parents. However, with the development of IVF there is an option open to you that can still make your dreams a reality. You have likely heard the term, and you probably know a little about it.
IVF has become one of the most sought after fertility treatments, with many specialists offering the treatment.
Here we provide you with all that you need to know about IVF so that you can enter into the next phase of your journey with a good understanding of the process and a positive mindset.
First of all, you need to understand the basic premise of IVF:
● Eggs and sperm are harvested
● They are mixed together in the laboratory
● Fertilisation takes place and an embryo develops
● The embryo is planted into the womb
The idea is really quite simple, and the process aims to simulate the natural conception process as much as possible.
There are six main stages involved in IVF treatment:
1. Suppression of the natural menstrual cycle – medication is used to stop your menstrual cycle in order to prepare for the treatment.
2. Stimulation of eggs – in order to increase the chances of success, the production of eggs is stimulated in order to increase the number of eggs available for harvest and fertilisation.
3. Monitoring – after the stimulation of the egg supply, close monitoring takes place in order to keep a close eye on their progress and maturation. Medication may be offered in order to help the eggs to mature.
4. Collection of eggs and sperm- once the eggs are present and at a good level of maturity, a fine needle is inserted into the ovaries in order to collect them. Sperm is also collected so that it can be used during the fertilisation process.
5. Fertilisation – the egg and sperm are mixed together and kept in the laboratory for a few days in order to allow for fertilisation.
6. Transfer of embryos – following fertilisation, one or two embryos are transferred to the womb.
Following the transfer of the embryos you will undergo close monitoring. After two weeks it will be possible to determine whether the procedure has been successful.
After successful treatment, monitoring will take place throughout the pregnancy and the health of both the mother and baby will remain paramount.
The chances of success vary depending on age and health. The highest success rates are seen in younger women, whereas those over the age of 42 see less success.
There are some key contributing factors that need to be taken into account when working through the process and these include maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
For some couples the first cycle of IVF can prove successful. However, for others it can take in excess of three cycles before the embryo implantation results in a successful pregnancy. Above all it is important to remain optimistic and healthy